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.270 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
•that one from among the great confusion of sounds which he had
heard; he had been impressed by the long letter which, seen by
-the running file of children, had made them burst into a shout.
It is not necessary to explain how pronouncing the alphabetic
.sounds separately reveals the state of speech. The defects, almost
all connected with the incomplete development of speech itself,
are made manifest to the teacher who can easily make a note of
them one by one. Here there may be created a standard of pro-
gress for individual teaching, based on the state of development
reached by the speech of the child.
For the correction of speech, it is useful to follow the physio-
logical rules of its development and to graduate the difficulties.
But when the child's speech is already developed sufficiently and
he pronounces all the sounds, it is a matter of indifference whether
we make him pronounce one rather than another in teaching
graphic language with the reading of symbols.
A great many of the defects which remain permanently in the
adult are due to functional errors in the development of speech in
the period of childhood. If instead of correcting the speech of
adolescents we trained its development in childhood we would
accomplish a most useful work of a preventive character. Besides
these there are many defects due to dialects, which are almost im-
possible to correct later, but which could very easily be eradicated
if education directed itself specially to improving the speech of
Let us ignore here the real defects in speech dus to anatomical
and physiological anomalies, as well as to pathological facts dis-
turbing the functioning of the nervous system; let us confine
ourselves to those defects arising from the persistence of faulty
childish pronunciation, from the imitation of wrong pronunciation,
including that of dialect. Such- defects, grouped under the term
Maesitas, may affect the pronunciation of every consonant. And
no more practical means of correcting speech methodically can be
suggested than that exercise in pronunciation, necessary for learning
graphic language by my method.